The Widow of an Indian Chief watching the Arms of her Deceased Husband Joseph Wright, oil on canvas, exhibited 1785. Credit, Derby Museums Trust.


Joseph Wright Study Room

Derby Museums cares for the largest collection of works by artist Joseph Wright of Derby anywhere in the world. The Joseph Wright Study Room is home to over 300 drawings and sketches by Wright, as well as engravings, letters and a large library of related books.

Anyone is welcome to visit the Study Room however, before making a trip please call ahead and book an appointment so that you can make the most of your visit. To book, please call 01332 641901 or e-mail

The drawings and prints are stored in specially-designed drawers allowing over 100 to be viewed close up. Discover Wright’s earliest known sketches, drawn when he was aged 15-16 years old. Explore studies for his portraits, sketches from Italy, and preparatory drawings for some of his finest paintings such as ‘The Alchymist’. Alongside these sit beautiful clocks and intriguing scientific instruments by his friend, John Whitehurst (1713-1788).

The Joseph Wright Study Room Curator, Matt Edwards, is available to offer knowledge, guidance and to assist with your enquiries. You could also meet one of our many volunteers, helping us achieve what we do and developing their own museums experience. We also provide a workspace to sit and study with access to the reference library and Wi-Fi.